Vertical focus

Both IBM and HP have overhauled their go-to-market strategies this month, announcing that they are to increase their vertical focus.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  December 10, 2003

Both IBM and HP have overhauled their go-to-market strategies this month, announcing that they are to increase their vertical focus.

Big Blue's initiative is a global one and impacts on its entire software division, while HP's is more local and is designed to capture more of the small-to-medium sized business (SMB) market in the region. These announcements follow Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) decision to seek Middle East partners with extensive knowledge in manufacturing and supply chain-focused industries.

For MBS, vertical specific resellers and systems integrators are key to its ambitions for Axapta, the former Navision enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. Around the same time as MBS' announcement, PeopleSoft's executive vice president of international operations, Guy Dubois, implied the vendor would look to recruit specific channel partners for local verticals, which it felt it could not reach through either its existing channel or its direct presence in the market.

This enhanced vertical focus from the IT industry's vendors has been brought about by a couple of factors. Firstly, the region's enterprise market is nearing saturation so the vendors need to find new markets and more inventive ways to package and sell their products. Secondly, as end user organisations tighten IT spending, it is the more liquid industries such as oil & gas that will continue to heavily invest in technology.

The current preference for local partners and systems integrators with vertical knowledge is superb news for the local channel and it promises to enrich coffers throughout the reseller world. However, there is a caveat. Only those partners with the resources, knowledge and experience will, in the first instance, win the contracts that see them become a vendor's partner of choice. From there, only those with the desire to grow their business and continue training their people will reap the rewards buoyant industry specific markets can provide.

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